UPSC Prelims News of 8 October 2022
Digital Services Act (DSA)
Context: The European Union (EU) has given final approval to online safety-focused legislation called the Digital Services Act (DSA).
- The law will regulate the functioning of the intermediaries, in terms of moderating user content. Platforms such as Google, Meta, Twitter, and YouTube will come under the purview.
- Faster removals and provisions to challenge: Social media companies will have to add new procedures for faster removal of content considered harmful.
- Take-down policy has to be conveyed to the users and they will have to be given opportunity to challenge takedown decisions taken by platforms.
- Greater responsibility for larger platforms: Increased accountability will apply on the Big Tech companies. It avoids a one-size fits all approach.
- Supervision: The European Commission will directly supervise the requirements and the enforcement of the law.
- Transparency in working: The Big Techs will face scrutiny in terms of working of their algorithms. Regulators will have to be given access to their data to identify risks of illegal or harmful content.
- Ad policies: Online platforms must allow users to easily identify advertisements and understand who presents or pays for the advertisement.
- Personalized advertisement must not be used towards minors or based on sensitive personal data.
- Significance of the law:
- The law will provide better protection to users and to fundamental rights online.
- It will establish a powerful transparency and accountability framework for online platforms.
- The law will provide a single, uniform framework across the EU.
India’s Online Laws:
- India has made changes to social media regulations in the form of the Information Technology Rules, 2021 (IT Rules).
- This includes appointing key personnel to handle law enforcement requests and user grievances, enabling identification of the first originator of the information on their platform, and employing technology-based measures to identify certain types of content.
- The government has also created a grievance appellate committees to review and revoke content moderation decisions taken by platforms.
Indian Cough Syrups Banned in the Gambia
Context: The WHO has issued alert after four Indian-manufactured cough syrups is said to have caused 66 deaths in the Gambia.
More on the News:
- The cough syrup could potentially be linked to acute kidney injury in children and 66 deaths in the West African nation of The Gambia.
- Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup are the products under scanner. They were manufactured and exported by Maiden Pharmaceuticals of India.
- Reasons for the death: Analysis of the product has confirmed the presence of large amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.
- These contaminants are said to cause acute kidney injury in young children.
Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol:
- They are chemical contaminants that may be present in the solvent that is used in the syrups. They are considered toxic to humans.
- They can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, and altered mental state. It can lead to acute kidney injury that may turn fatal in children.
Syrups vs. Suspensions:
|The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in syrup is completely mixed in the solvent.||In suspension, the API particles are uniformly suspended in a solvent.|
|APIs contained in syrups are not water-soluble, and hence a base solvent is needed like propylene glycol.||Propylene glycol solvent is not needed for suspension as the active ingredient does not have to be dissolved.|
|The industrial variety of the propylene glycol may contain diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.||A liquid base known as carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) is used in suspension, which does not contain the two contaminants.|
Context: Researchers have found that Climate Change will aid the spread of Lassa fever to the central and eastern parts of Africa in the next 50 years.
What is Lassa Fever?
- About: It is a zoonotic disease endemic to parts of West Africa and was first discovered in 1969 in Nigeria.
- It is caused by the Lassa virus, which is a single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the virus family Arenaviridae.
- The virus is named after a town in Nigeria where the first cases were discovered.
- Animal to human transmission: The host of Lassa virus is a rodent of the genus Mastomys. The virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.
- Human to human transmission: The virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever.
- Fatality rate: The overall case-fatality rate is 1%. Observed case-fatality rate among patients hospitalized with severe cases of Lassa fever is 15%.
- The antiviral drug ribavirin seems to be an effective treatment for Lassa fever if given early on in the course of clinical illness.
- There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.
Context: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das launched a new initiative called DAKSH.
- DAKSH is a web-based end-to-end workflow application through which RBI shall monitor compliance requirements in a more focused manner.
- It will be RBI-controlled advanced supervisory monitoring system, which is expected to make the supervisory processes more robust.
- It will help in further improving the compliance culture in Supervised Entities (SEs) like Banks, NBFCs, etc.
- It enables seamless communication, inspection planning and execution, cyber incident reporting and analysis and provision of various MIS (management information systems) reports, among others, through a platform which enables anytime-anywhere secure access.
Context: Vyommitra, is undergoing pre-flight ground tests at the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU).
- Vyommitra is the ‘female’ robot astronaut.
- It is a half-humanoid lacking lower limbs.
- It is designed to fly aboard a rocket, withstanding vibrations and shock during the flight.
- It resembles a human with facial expressions and speech and sight capabilities.
- It will fly aboard the first unmanned test flight ahead of the crewed Gaganyaan flight expected in 2024.
- IISU was responsible for the design, development, and integration of the robot. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba developed its fingers.
- IISU has successfully integrated it with a computer ‘brain’ which enables it to ‘read’ control panels aboard the unmanned test flights and communicate with the ISRO ground stations.
- Vyommitra twin: It will be developed in collaboration with academic institutions like the IITs.
- It would demonstrate human spaceflight by sending a crew of three astronauts to the 400-km Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and bringing them back safely.
Context: This October marks the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, which was constructed in 1822 by Begum Samru.
Basilica of Our Lady of Grace
- It is a Roman Catholic Church in Sardhana of Meerut, in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
- It is also known as ‘Churches among the Churches’ and is the largest Church in North India.
About Begum Samru
- She was a Muslim Nautch girl (dancing girl) of 14 who married a European mercenary soldier Walter Reinhardt Sombre.
- Samru converted to Roman Catholicism in 1781 and adopted the name Joanna Nobilis.
- She is regarded as the only Catholic ruler in India, and ruled the Principality of Sardhana in 18th and 19th century.
- Begum Samru inherited the Jagir of Sardhana after her husband’s death in 1778. Subsequently, she decided to construct a Church at Sardhana, dedicated to Virgin Mary.
- She built palaces at Sardhana, Chandni Chowk in Delhi and Jharsa. The paragana of Badshahpur-Jharsa in Gurugram in Haryana was also ruled by Begum Samru.